Boohoo dropped by Next, Asos and Zalando over factory exploitation claims

Fashion brand Boohoo, has been dropped by three major online retailers over allegations of low pay and unsafe conditions at a supplier's factories.

The company had more than £1.5bn wiped off its stock market value since Monday in response to the allegations. also joined Next and Asos later on Tuesday, which issued a statement saying it had temporarily suspended sales.

A spokesperson for The Very Group said: “We have temporarily suspended the sale of brands operated by Boohoo Group while the company conducts its investigation,except those where stock predated Boohoo’s acquisition of the brands, including Oasis and Warehouse."

The company, which also owns the Nasty Gal and PrettyLittleThing brands, has denied any responsibility but said it would "thoroughly investigate" the claims.

In a statement it said: "We will not hesitate to immediately terminate relationships with any supplier who is found not to be acting within both the letter and spirit of our supplier code of conduct."

A spokesman for Next said the company had dropped Boohoo clothes from its websites last week in response to a report from the campaign group Labour Behind the Label which first detailed the allegations. “Next concluded there is a case for Boohoo Group to answer,” he said.

Berlin-based online retailer Zalando, which had €6.4bn sales in 2019, joined Next and Asos in dropping Boohoo, and all references to the company had been removed from their websites.

Zalando said: “We expect our partners to apply similar fundamental priorities and will distance ourselves from those who don’t.”

Boohoo's shares fell a further 12% on Tuesday after a 16% slump the day before, following the publication of the allegations in the Sunday Times.

Asos, meanwhile, has temporarily suspended its trading relationship with all Boohoo brands.

It is understood the suspension will remain pending the outcome of Boohoo's investigation.

The news will come as a further blow to Boohoo after it was forced to announce an investigation into claims that workers at one of its Leicester suppliers were being paid as little as £3.50 an hour. Other factories are alleged to have forced people to work throughout lockdown despite others on site having symptoms of coronavirus.

The claims have revived long-held concerns over working conditions in Leicester’s garment industry, where around 1,000 factories and small workshops make clothes, mostly for UK fast-fashion brands. An estimated 75%–80% of clothes produced in the city are for Boohoo.